People talk 10/23/03

Thursday, October 23, 2003

'Idol' runner-up doing well on the charts

NEW YORK -- Clay Aiken was the runner-up on "American Idol" this season, but he's second to none on the album chart.

Aiken's "Measure of a Man" debuted at No. 1, selling nearly 613,000 copies during its first week in stores, according to industry figures released Wednesday.

The collection of pop tunes and love songs features "This Is the Night," the ballad he first belted out during the finals of the Fox singing competition.

Ruben Studdard, this year's "American Idol" winner, plans to release his album, "Soulful," on Nov. 25.

Last season's winner, Kelly Clarkson, also debuted at No. 1 on the album chart with "Thankful," which sold more than 297,000 copies during its first week in stores in April.

Aiken's showing far surpassed that of his counterpart last season, runner-up Justin Guarini, whose self-titled debut sold only 54,000 copies during its first week in June.

The freshly scrubbed crooner ousted Ludacris from the No. 1 spot. The rapper's album "Chicken & Beer" dropped to No. 2, selling about 194,000 copies during its second week.

Horror writer takes swipe at celeb couple

NEW YORK -- Stephen King is disgusted by the celebrity culture that has turned Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez into a phenomenon known as "Bennifer."

King writes in his Entertainment Weekly column that the amalgamated moniker suggests it's "as if their romance summed up everything we'd ever care to know about them. Are they talented? Can they sing, dance and act? Doesn't matter. When dealing with celebs, talent's a side issue."

The author writes in the magazine's Oct. 24 issue that he knows some actors and singers thrive in the spotlight, while others suffer with the realization that a normal life is impossible.

Lopez and Affleck had planned to marry Sept. 14 before abruptly calling off the wedding. It would have been the third marriage for Lopez, 33, and the first for Affleck, 31.

Comic strip pegged for live-action TV show

BURBANK, Calif. -- "Luann" will leap from newspaper comic pages to television.

The rights to a live-action half-hour TV show based on the "Luann" comic strip have been acquired by dick clark productions inc., it was announced Tuesday.

No casting decisions have been made, Clark said.

"It is set apart from others in its genre by its cliffhanging stories, social relevance and the keen character humor displayed not only in Luann's persona but in that of her family and friends as well," Clark said in a statement.

Since 1985, "Luann" comics have chronicled the turbulent life of a teenage girl "dealing with the euphoric highs and devastating lows of that awful, awesome phase -- adolescence," the production company said.

"Luann" creator Greg Evans started the strip after observing his daughter's teen years.

"I realize that adolescence is a very funny time except when you're in it," Evans said in a statement. "It's a unique phase in life that's troublesome and hilarious at the same time, particularly for girls."

The National Cartoonists Society has nominated "Luann" five times as Cartoon of the Year. The syndicated cartoon appears daily in more than 400 newspapers worldwide.

Gossip nothing new to star of 'Kill Bill'

NEW YORK -- After 15 years in the public eye, Uma Thurman said she's learned to ignore what gossip columnists write about her.

Now they're writing that her marriage to actor Ethan Hawke is in trouble, and she's trying not to let that bother her -- but it's been difficult.

"You know, I think it was Katharine Hepburn who had the best answer to that," Thurman told Vogue magazine for its November issue. "She said the only time it hurts is when it's true.

"I am with the kids, and I am committed to taking the fall off," she said. "Then we will see what happens."

The star of "Kill Bill -- Vol. 1" told the magazine that she and Hawke haven't had a serious discussion about their future, and said she's unsure whether their marriage can survive.

Thurman, 33, and Hawke, 32, married in 1998 and have a daughter, Maya Ray, and a son, Levon. They've co-starred in the movies "Gattaca" and "Tape."

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